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What is a handy flag?

The most important trend in the development of modern merchant shipping is its internationalization – which, in particular, today gives jobs to thousands of sailors.

What makes it possible?

Internationalization is manifested in the fact that labor from developing countries is connected with the means of production from developed countries – members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In addition, the growing share of developing countries in the tonnage of the world fleet and its quantitative composition. Thus, at the end of the 20th century, shipowners from developing countries accounted for almost 20% of the world fleet deadweight, and the share of ship ownership in developing countries in the tonnage of the world fleet grew especially rapidly over the past two decades, for which the share of ship ownership in developing countries doubled.

The main factors that ensured the internationalization of shipping are the flexible shipping policies of developing countries and the use of convenient flags.

What is a ship?

To understand the essence and meaning of convenient flags, it is necessary to master the basic concepts used in the law of the sea. Fundamental in the law of the sea is the concept of a ship. The word “ship” means all types of floating craft used or likely to be used as waterborne vehicles.

It seems that this definition is too broad, since it also includes objects of natural origin. The theory of the law of the sea implies a significant characteristic of the vessel as a structure, that is, only an object artificially and expediently created by a person intended for swimming or moving on water, or directly above it, or under it (in the water column) can be a sea vessel.

In addition, the identification of a structure as a ship is possible only if there are legal signs, attributes that must necessarily occur in order to identify the object as a ship. Such attributes are the name of the vessel and its registration.

Registration of a vessel is a condition for acquiring nationality and the right to fly a state flag. The acquisition by a ship of the right to fly the state flag of a certain state determines the nationality of the ship, so these legal properties are also closely related.

The conditions for state registration vary from country to country. The space occupied by the vessel is considered part of the territory of the country under the flag of which the sea vessel is entitled to fly.

Thus, it is obvious that the flag state receives sovereign rights in this space, and the authorities of this state receive the corresponding competence, which means the emergence of certain obligations of the state and its bodies in the space occupied by the sea vessel. On the ship, the rule of law of the flag state is established. This rule of law in different states can vary significantly.

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